In Kim Addonizio's poems "31-Year-Old Lover," "Dead Girls," and "Ex-Boyfriends," love and sexuality is paired with violence and pain.
The speaker of "31- Year-Old Lover" fell in love with the perfection of her lover's body. She described the future change in his body: "He stands naked in my bedroom and nothing has harmed him yet, though he is going to be harmed." She chose to have a relationship with a younger man because she, too, had experienced the pain of the aging process and the loss of youth. "I am going to have it back the only way I can." In him, she felt she could become young again.
"Dead Girls" taps into the normal lives of the readers. The speaker realizes that the dead girls could be anyone: "Anyone can play her, any child off the street can be hog-tied and dumped from a van…" The speaker desires the attention that dead girls receive.
Love gone wrong and violence go hand in hand in the poem "Ex-Boyfriends." "They hang around, hitting on your friends or else you never hear from them again." The speaker's tone implies that though the ex-boyfriends try to flirt with the women, the "hitting on" seems violent. One ex-boyfriend wrote a book about a woman being violently murdered. The speaker described ex-boyfriends in a similar manner, saying, "They were your loves, your victims…"